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SIIA ranked among top Asian think tanks for third year running

23 Jan SIIA ranked among top Asian think tanks for third year running

Singapore, 23 January 2015 – The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) was ranked among the top Asian think tanks for the third year running in the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index, an annual ranking compiled by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Programme.

The SIIA was ranked number one in Singapore, and comes in 4th in the Southeast Asia and Pacific category, behind Australian Institute for International Affairs (AIIA), Indonesia’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and New Zealand’s Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS). The other Singapore think tanks that make it to top 20 are the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and East Asian Institute (EAI).

Globally, the SIIA was ranked 40th worldwide among non-US think tanks. Topping the list in the overall index is the Brookings Institution from the US.

The ranking was first released in the US on Thursday. Simultaneous launch events were held in 59 cities across 49 countries. In Singapore, the results were announced at the SIIA, which was ranked number one in Southeast Asia in the 2012 survey, and number one in Asia and the Pacific in the 2013 survey.

“We had a good year. If others are ranked higher than us this time, we will see it as an incentive to work harder,” said Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman of the SIIA. “On this note, I would like to congratulate our partner from Indonesia, the CSIS, for its achievements in this year’s results.”

Both the SIIA and CSIS are part of a grouping of 10 think tanks known as the ASEAN-ISIS (Institutes of Strategic and International Studies) network, which actively seeks to shape the political landscape by engaging both the government and non-governmental organisations.

Now in its eighth year, the peer-reviewed survey ranks think tanks based on criteria such as the commitment of their leadership, quality and reputation of their staff as well as their research and analysis. A total of 6,681 think tanks were invited to participate in the 2014 rankings.

In conjunction with the announcement, the SIIA also co-hosted a panel discussion titled “Geopolitics 2015: What to Watch Out For” with two other local think tanks, IDSS and EAI. The panel of speakers included Mr. Lye Liang Fook, Assistant Director at the EAI, Dr. Tan See Seng, Associate Professor, Deputy Director and Head of Research at the IDSS, and Professor Tay from the SIIA.

The panel agreed that power struggles are likely to intensify in the coming year, with the US and China vying for bigger influence in Asia. Commenting on US President Barack Obama’s recent assertion that Asia’s trade rules should be written by the US, and not China, Dr. Tan said: “Obama is between the proverbial rock and a hard place, with two years left on his presidency. (As such) he will try his best to push through a foreign policy that will establish his legacy as much as he can.”

The SIIA will be publishing more content from the discussion on


The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) was ranked number one in Asia and the Pacific by a global survey in 2014, and number one in ASEAN in 2013. The SIIA is an independent think tank dedicated to the research analysis and discussion of regional and international issues, and plays a key role in the Track II process to advise governments. Founded in 1962 and registered as a membership-based society, the institute is Singapore’s oldest think tank that aims to help Singapore become a more cosmopolitan and global society through public education and outreach on international affairs.